MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Introducing Green Chemistry: The Science of Solutions

Ann Lambert
Chemistry Teacher
King Philip Regional High School
Wrentham, MA, USA
Green Chemistry Lead Teacher
Beyond Benign, Inc.
Wilmington, MA

Kate Anderson
Director of Education
Beyond Benign, Inc.
Wilmington, MA

Mollie Enright
Program Manager
Beyond Benign, Inc.
Wilmington, MA 

This lesson introduces students to Green Chemistry, the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and/or the generation of hazardous substances. Green chemistry is a proactive approach to pollution prevention that teaches chemists how to develop products and materials in a manner that does not use hazardous substances, thus avoiding much waste, hazards and associated costs. The goal of this lesson is to introduce students to the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry and how they relate to a chemical process. These principles provide a framework for scientists, engineers and chemistry students to use when designing new materials, products, processes, and systems. The Principles focus on sustainable design criteria and have proven to be the source of innovative solutions to a wide range of problems. Through this lesson, students will also use weight and measurement to understand the concept of a recipe as it is applied to a chemical process and think critically about that process and how it might be improved. Students will be asked to use a wasteful, inefficient procedure to make glue and be challenged to improve the procedure-during which they will unknowingly use the 12 Principles. Before starting this lesson, students should have been introduced to the periodic table and properties of matter. The estimated time for this lesson is 50-60 minutes. 

Ann Lambert holds a B.S. in Pharmacy from Butler University and an M.Ed. in Secondary Education with a focus on Chemistry from Eastern Nazarene College. Ann has been teaching high school for 19 years and has been a Lead Teacher at Beyond Benign for 6 years. She teaches all levels of chemistry and a variety of teacher professional development courses and workshops.

Kate Anderson earned her Master's in Education Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Environmental Education from Florida Atlantic University in 2006 after graduating with her B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Kate is currently the Director of Education for Beyond Benign, Inc., a non-profit working to revolutionize the way that chemistry is taught globally by advocating that green chemistry becomes an integral part of chemical education. Kate leads the organization's teacher training programs and oversees all curriculum development for Beyond Benign’s free resource library. To learn more about Kate or to explore the resources available through Beyond Benign, please visit www.beyondbenign.org

Mollie Enright holds a B.S. degree in chemistry from Gordon College. She is currently the Program Manager for Beyond Benign, Inc. At Beyond Benign, Mollie leads all community outreach programming and equips volunteers to lead sustainable science outreach events through the green chemistry outreach fellows program. In her role, Mollie also supports all k-12 programming for Beyond Benign and seeks to equip teachers with the resources they need to bring green chemistry and sustainable science into their classrooms. 

This is the Green Energy page of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
https://www.epa.gov/greenchemistry

This Beyond Benign site provides High School level Green Chemistry lesson plans that are designed to give teachers the tools to both do and teach green chemistry in their classrooms.
http://www.beyondbenign.org/K12education/highschool.html

This Beyond Benign unit for middle school entitled “Chemistry with a Conscience”, places students in the role of materials scientists creating shampoo.
http://www.beyondbenign.org/K12education/middleschool.html

This Beyond Benign resource, “The Green Math Curriculum Project”, connects math concepts to technologies and considerations surrounding the new green economy and engages students in real-world examples of the use of their math skills
http://www.beyondbenign.org/K12education/green_math_hs.html

This Beyond Benign site provides information on Green Chemistry curriculum and teacher training.
http://www.beyondbenign.org/K12education/kthru12.html

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This Lesson is in the following clusters: Environmental Sustainability